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HealthInfo Canterbury

Bacterial vaginosis (BV, gardnerella)

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is caused by an overgrowth of bugs (bacteria) that are normally found in the vagina in small numbers. It isn't passed on during sex.

BV may cause an increase in discharge from the vagina, or an unusual smell.

You can be tested for BV with a vaginal swab.

If BV is causing symptoms, it's treated with antibiotics.

If you have any vaginal symptoms, it's important to get checked by your GP, Sexual Health Centre or Family Planning Clinic in case you have a more serious sexually transmitted disease (STI).

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See also:

Understanding your vaginal swab results

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed September 2021.

Page reference: 53194

Review key: HIVVC-53223